Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity deal will hurt the company’s sales and image
This year’s Gamescom conference was full of surprises, but not all of them were good or pro-consumer. And if you read the title, you already know what I’m going to talk about. As we previously discussed, exclusive games are very important for console, without them being obsolete. While most of them are made at in-house studios, there are a few “bought” exclusives such as Rise of the Tomb Raider.
What bought means? It means that the studio in charge with the game cares so much about money, that they sold exclusivity for their upcoming title to the highest bidder, which in this case is Microsoft. It stands to reason that they didn’t choose the platform based on install base, or continuity, it’s all just about the money.
Microsoft has proven us that when you think about money, instead of your customers you will get hurt, badly. Above everything is the image you make, and how customers perceive you, and the fact that Rise of the Tomb Raider was turned into an exclusive title overnight made a lot of people angry, with good reason.
When Crystal Dynamics sold Rise of the Tomb Raider to Microsoft, they also let go of the 10 million install base that PlayStation 4 has and the enormous amount of PC owners, who are pretty much everybody in the world. Microsoft has the least sold consoles of the next-gen, so will the money received upfront by the developer compensate the fact that they lost over 10 million customers with just one announcement?
We can’t blame Microsoft for doing this, as a hardware owner they are entitled to try to snatch all exclusive titles possible in order to convince you to buy Xbox One. And while most will disagree, I’m sure there are a couple thousand people who will buy the console just for Tomb Raider.
However, I can’t find any excuse for Crystal Dynamics especially when the first Tomb Raider reboot was released on pretty much every platform (except Nintendo’s Wii U). I’m sure that if they announced from day one their partnership with Microsoft, and only released titles exclusively on that platform, nobody would have been upset.
For a studio, no matter how big or small it is, the most important thing is to release their newest game on as many platforms as possible and get as many sells they can to continue their work in the future. By selling out, and signing this contract, Crystal Dynamics pretty much forgot about a lot of their fans and treated them in a disrespectful way, and while some will forgot about this and still buy the game, there will be a few that won’t.
As a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owner, I won’t be affected directly by this announcement, but I also have second thoughts when it comes to buying the game. In no way or form we should support this kind of moves, because they are anti-consumer and shows us how our trust can be sold for just a pile of money.
Even if the game is only a time exclusive for Xbox One, Crystal Dynamics’ move is shameful in every way possible.